Notes on Pre 1921 MOD retention records:
This is the index to ‘service records’ currently still held by the MOD records office for those persons with dates of birth pre 1901.
i.e. those who served after 1921 either having joined up initially before 1921 or had re-joined from previous service before 1921.
It contains over 340,000 individual names with a date of birth, service number and the MODs own reference numbers for their records held.
The importance of this collection is that the vast majority of service records sets for the WWI period were destroyed in bombing in 1940 –for anyone however who re-enlisted or continued service it is possible that their service records are still kept by the MOD and survive –this index lists all those that are in this category.
If a searcher knows, or suspects their ancestor served beyond 1921 and cannot find an existing service record elsewhere but has not tried a direct request to the MOD previously this index can help to confirm if a record survives.
Important notes on this index:
There are often noted on the Medal index cards in pencil also.
If there is more than one number noted it is listed also.
Fields of information include:
Account/Item code: The MODs own filing references
Service number 1:
Service number 2:
Date of Birth
Some records will only have the date of birth, surname and initials and the service number and MOD's own codes, if in doubt -contact the MODs own records centre just to be sure.
Notes on Original document: If an unintelligible part of the original file was placed into the regiment column it’s been kept, these may or may not be a unit designation –although many are probably just errors on the original index, they are included in the possible event they may assist.
Hints & tips
Searching for a name
In the event of searching for someone with a title (i.e. the earl of…etc) search for the title only.
Double barrelled surnames are separated with a hyphen.
Famous names include:
HRH Henry VIII
HM King George VI
HRH Queen Elizabeth (the Queen Mother)
Adrian Carton De Wiart VC
How to apply for these records directly from the MOD.
This official Government webpage has all the up to date forms needed to get started with an application.
When dealing with any set of records as large as this errors are inevitable either in the original transcription done in-house at the MOD and its predecessor the War Office or later in conversion into a proper database by FWR.
If you notice anything, please let us know!
E&OE 2017 FWR